North Carolina requires nonprofit organizations that intend to directly solicit contributions within the state to hold a Charitable Solicitation License (CSL) before soliciting contributions. The CSL must be renewed each year that the organization plans to continue to solicit funds in North Carolina.

There are several exemptions in which an organization would not be required to file and renew a CSL, listed below:

  • 131F-3(1): Religious institutions
  • 131F-3(2): Federal, state, or local government, or their agencies
  • 131F-3(3): Organization that receives less than $25,000 in contributions and does not provide compensation to an officer, trustee, organizer, incorporator, or solicitor.
  • 131F-3(4): Educational institutions
  • 131F-3(5): Hospitals
  • 131F-3(6): Noncommercial radio or television station
  • 131F-3(7): Qualified community trusts
  • 131F-3(8): Bona fide volunteer, bona fide employee, or salaried officer of charitable organization
  • 131F-3(9): Attorney, investment counselor, or banker who advises person to make contributions
  • 131F-3(10): Volunteer fire department, REACT, rescue squad or emergency medical service
  • 131F-3(11): Young Men’s or Young Women’s Christian Association
  • 131F-3(12): Nonprofit continuing care facility
  • 131F-3(13): Nonprofit fire or emergency medical service organization involved I n the sale of goods or services that does not ask for a donation

If your organization falls under one of the above exemptions, you should review the Secretary of State website to ensure you file the proper document, and/or submit a written request for your exemption. Some exemptions are required to be updated annually, while others remain in place permanently, unless there are changes to the organization that affect the exemption.

If your organization does not qualify for an exemption, you must file a CSL application annually. The CSL is due four and a half months after the organization’s year-end, the same as its Form 990 series. Each organization is granted an automatic two-month extension and can request an additional month extension by providing their federal tax return extension.

Your organization may owe a license fee with its application, depending on the amount of contributions received each year. The fees range from $0-$200. The CSL office also charges a late fee of $25 for each month past the due date of your CSL application.

The CSL application can be paper filed, or filed online at the Secretary of State website. It is important to read each question thoroughly and follow the instructions carefully to ensure you include all necessary information when you submit your CSL package.

Many other states also have a Charitable Solicitation License filing requirement. If your organization is soliciting funds in other states, you should consider these filing requirements and determine if it is necessary for your organization to file in those states as well.

For assistance with your organization’s North Carolina Charitable Solicitation License or determining the requirements of other states, please contact the Not-for-Profit Niche team at Gilliam Bell Moser LLP for further guidance at